USA Today sports writer/columnist Jarrett Bell has won the Bill Nunn Jr. Award for journalistic contributions while covering pro football.
Bell, who has covered the NFL since 1981 and has been with USA Today since 1993, was selected by the Professional Football Writers of America. He is the 54th award winner and the first Black journalist to receive the honor for a long and distinguished career covering the sport.
The award is named for Nunn, who before his Hall of Fame scouting career with the Pittsburgh Steelers worked for 22 years at the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the most influential Black publications in the United States. Nunn, who started with the Courier as a sports writer in 1948, regularly covered HBCU events and athletes. He compiled the definitive Black College All-America team for the Courier starting in 1950.
Nunn became the sports editor, and he was the paper’s managing editor when the Steelers hired him as a part-time scout in 1966. He was hired as the Steelers’ assistant director of player personnel in 1970, and he stayed with the organization as a scout and personnel executive until his death in 2014. Nunn was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2021, when the award was renamed for him.
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Bell is a longtime member of the Hall of Fame selection committee, including the hall’s contributors committee, and he was part of the blue-ribbon panel that selected the NFL 100 All-Time Team. He has also been the designated pool reporter for the PFWA at five Super Bowls.
Bell was prominently featured in two documentaries, “The Forgotten Four” and “Minister of Defense: The Reggie White Story.” A native of Detroit, he covered high school football as a staff writer for the Dallas Times Herald (1981-83) and was sports director for KNOK-FM (1984-85) in Fort Worth. He started with Dallas Cowboys Weekly as a contributing writer soon after his 1981 graduation from Michigan State, and he was hired as assistant editor of the publication in 1985.
He was a contributor at ESPN (2013-17) and won a first-place honor from the Associated Press Sports Editors in 2020, as well as earning multiple Dick Connor Writing Awards from the PFWA.
Bell will be honored during the 2022 Hall of Fame enshrinements in early August.
Other 2022 nominees for the Nunn Award were Mary Kay Cabot (Cleveland Plain Dealer), Gary Myers (author) and Barry Wilner (The Associated Press).
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